South River Falls Trail is a 4.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Stanardsville, Virginia that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,272 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

forest

river

views

waterfall

rocky

Directions from Front Royal, VA: Skyline Drive travels the entire length of Shenandoah National Park. Mile markers are placed along the right-hand side of the road heading south. They are numbered from north to south beginning at the northern terminus in Front Royal, Virginia. Facilities, trails and park features use the mile markers as points of reference. Park in the South River Picnic Area where the trail begins near the third parking area. The milepost is 62.8.

hiking
14 days ago

Nice hike along water down to an overlook with a view of a waterfall. Many people hike down to the overlook and back the same way, but the loop was a less gradual/strenuous walk — even if it was a bit longer.

walking
29 days ago

Very very nice !!

1 month ago

Good hike, did the loop and appreciated the wide and relatively even Fire Road on the way back (uphill). Definitely worth the extra mile to go from the overlook all the way to the base of the falls.

1 month ago

Took the kids (elementary school), had snacks and played in the water. Kind of a long hike on the way back entirely up hill, but definitely worth the trip. Will be back again when we have longer to stay. If taking kids, plan to get in the water and bring plenty of snacks.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful! We saw a rattlesnake at the edge of one of the over looks. We went on a Saturday and it was pretty crowded. The hike down is pretty easy, but the hike back up is a work out! This is a perfect day hike if you're looking for pretty water fall views that don't take very long to get to!

hiking
2 months ago

Easy to moderate hike. It can be slippery if it is shortly after raining/raining. The first part of the hike is going downhill and the second half is all uphill. After getting to the overlook of the falls (pretty but far away), I suggest taking the fire road hike down to the base of the falls - watch your step going to the base of the falls as it can be quite slippery. There is plenty of parking at the trailhead and bathrooms. You do have to pay the entrance fee if you enter through the Swift Run Entrance.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked this on labor day and got stuck in a down pour for about 20 minutes right at the base of the falls. Beautiful and well worth the wait for the rain to stop.

hiking
2 months ago

Great little hike. Plan the extra time to go to the base of the falls. The falls have a single drop and then an intermediate pool about half way down where it splits into two. Probably my favorite waterfall in the park based on the access and beauty. The view from the observation deck with foliage on the trees is limited. The falls were running pretty heavy for this time of year due to the substantial storms we have had recently. Well maintained trail. The grind out along the roads is slow and steady.

2 months ago

Great hike! We Did it with a 5 and a 6 yr Old as well. We went All the way to the base of the falls which was nice because the view was the best down there. I will say if I did it again with the children I would probably turn around at the concrete overlook rather than continue on. The kids were spent when we Got back to the fire Rd. They took turns riding My Shoulders all the way to the top. The fire road is a steep grade straight up the mountain whereas the original trial down is switchbacks. I Would Imagine that they're equally as challenging to get back up. Just a preference thing. Bring plenty of water and a snack to eat at the bottom as it turned into a 5 hour affair.....without young kids probably a 3 hour trip

2 months ago

My favorite waterfall in the park. Not worth just going down to first view only. View is obstructed. Might be ok after the leaves are gone.

hiking
2 months ago

Fun little hike to knock out after work. We went after it rained so it was pretty boggy and there were tons of mosquitoes.

hiking
3 months ago

Well worth the extra hike to the bottom of the falls

3 months ago

A really great hike. We went after a rain storm, and the waterfall was flowing heavy. We were fortunate to have the place to ourselves for a good half hour, it’s very serene as you’re sort of in your own cove beneath the falls. Would definitely do this hike again.

3 months ago

Nice hike. Cool streams along most of it. Beautiful waterfall at the end.

hiking
3 months ago

Great family hike. Waterfalls and rocky river views

walking
3 months ago

Pretty descent down to the overlook. Not a lot of direct sunlight which helps keep you cool. Will work for your way back up but very doable. There is a picnic and restrooms area in the lot for pre/post needs.

4 months ago

Down, down, down means a long hike back up. One nice view of the falls on the way down, then you can circle back to the trailhead. If you have time and energy to go all the way to the base of the falls, go for it - it’s beautiful, but it’s the hardest part of the trail - steep and rocky.

4 months ago

The views of the falls during the descent down are lacking. However, the base of the falls is spectacular and something that shouldn't be missed. The hike difficulty is moderate, but nothing that most semi-in shape people couldn't handle.

4 months ago

Great hike, nice and quiet. And with all the rain the waterfall was stunning

hiking
4 months ago

Great 3 hour trip. Beautiful along the river, especially after the rain. The base of the waterfall is absolutely worth the detour! The fire road back is a pretty steady incline through the woods but the shade makes it manageable.

hiking
5 months ago

Took my two dogs and though it was tricky at points to navigate had a blast!

hiking
5 months ago

I’m not in the best shape anymore and am definitely not back to my prime hiking fitness. I found this trail to be challenging but doable for even someone like myself. The views were amazing. I will definitely be back to do it again.

5 months ago

Great, make sure you go all the way to the bottom of the falls.

5 months ago

Wonderfully maintained. Beautiful water hike if you go after a lot of rain has fallen.

hiking
5 months ago

Loved this! Falls were beautiful - not sure kids would be able to handle the uphill hike back. There were a few wet spots but nothing super crazy.

6 months ago

Went with our dog after a lot of rain, the water crossings were challenging due to slippery rocks. We saw 2 snakes once we arrived at the waterfall.

hiking
6 months ago

Hiked this on 4/29 with both my 9 and 5 yr old boys. We only hiked out to the concrete waterfall lookout area and back which was about 3 miles total. This was by far the most challenging hike I've done with them so far. The hike back is all uphill, and some of the rocky areas could get dangerous if you're not aware of your children's abilities and experience hiking. Great hike overall, quite a few beautiful spots to sit and enjoy the sounds of the water. I'm sure I could enjoy it even more if I wasn't concerned about fishing my kids out of the water

6 months ago

This was a nice afternoon hike on a beautiful day. Falls were low but good challenge making your way back up!

8 months ago

Beautiful hike! A little difficult on the way up, but I can’t complain about the views!

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful hike!! We had a sunny crisp (35deg) day and it was perfect!

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